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NYC Fines Airbnb Hosts For 'Illegal' Home Rentals (cnet.com) 267

In October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law one of the nation's toughest restrictions on Airbnb, which includes hefty fines of up to $7,500 for people who rent out space in their apartments. Several month have passed and the New York Post has learned of "the first casualties of [the] newly enforceable law." The city has reportedly charged two hosts with a combined total of 17 violations, and since each violation comes with a $1,000 fine, it adds up to $17,000. From their report: Property owner Hank Freid -- who was once crowned one of NYC's "Worst Landlords" by a watchdog group in 2005 -- and real estate broker Tatiana Cames were slapped with 17 violations, at $1,000 apiece, for their allegedly illegal listings on Manhattan's Upper West Side and in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in Brooklyn, according to documents obtained by the Post. Freid, who manages the Marrakech Hotel, was hit with 12 violations for listing SROs in the building on several booking platforms, including Booking.com, Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire, Travelocity, and Orbitz, the citations reveal. Meanwhile, Cames -- who was served with five violations -- allegedly posted five separate listings to Airbnb advertising 320 Macon St, which records show she purchased for $2.15M in 2015. The Macon St. property was discovered to have inadequate fire alarms, sprinklers, illegal subdivisions, and a confused bunch of French tourists in a rear unit, according the procured documents. Cames appears to be making money off the vacancies in the building as she attempts to fill the space, as the same units are advertised as "for rent" on her personal website. The listings also seem to suggest that drawing illegal Airbnb-ers into BedStuy will help "diversify" the locale. If Freid and Cames don't pull their listings, they could be hit with a second set of violations, at $5,000 a pop.
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NYC Fines Airbnb Hosts For 'Illegal' Home Rentals

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  • The law (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trachman ( 3499895 )

    Right.... AirBNB has some illegal unlicensed activity and NYC uses law to impose heavy fines.

    At the left side of the argument, illegal unlicensed people in NYC get taxpayer subsidized healthcare and public services and, including cash benefits.

    Can somebody explain to how to reconcile enforcement of one laws and ignoring the second laws, printed on the same paper with the same ink.

    • Right.... AirBNB has some illegal unlicensed activity and NYC uses law to impose heavy fines.

      At the left side of the argument, illegal unlicensed people in NYC get taxpayer subsidized healthcare and public services and, including cash benefits.

      Can somebody explain to how to reconcile enforcement of one laws and ignoring the second laws, printed on the same paper with the same ink.

      But they're not printed on the same paper with the same ink. The first is a state law and the second a federal law (I assume you mean the fact that these people are here illegally). So in the first case it is the state enforcing its own law, and in the second the state is not checking to see if enforcement of a federal law would apply to a particular person. Does that clear it up?

    • illegal unlicensed people in NYC

      States are not allowed to enforce immigration laws. Arizona tried doing something and got slapped in federal court.

      It's up to the citizens of each state how they treat people who entered or stayed improperly.

      printed on the same paper with the same ink

      We have a tiered system of government, and immigration laws are certainly not within the purview of the individual states. Your argument is deeply flawed.

  • Society (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @09:23AM (#53825099)
    The failure to understand why people don't want a different stranger living next to them every week is a sure sign that our society is breaking down. You can only have a functional society if people have some sort of empathy for people.
    • Re:Society (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @10:47AM (#53825501) Homepage Journal

      You can only have a functional society if people have some sort of empathy for people.

      What kind of difference does this make, then? I knew 0 of the people in the only apartment complex I've ever lived in. I know 0 of my neighbors. Remember when someone moved into the neighborhood, and someone would come to welcome them, maybe several of the neighbors? They'd bring a basket of fruit or something, and you'd all meet one another? Yeah, me neither. That shit was over long before I was born.

      • That happened last year, the last time a new person moved in. Yes, I live in a major city. I suppose those of us who live in a nice community want to keep it. Maybe you should focus on making your personal community nicer instead of trying to drag everyone else down to your level.

    • What? (Score:2, Troll)

      by s.petry ( 762400 )

      For all that the Progressive Leftists claim to be against big business and for the working people, they sure as hell don't show it. AirBnB gives people the ability to rent out their property for a few extra bucks. It gives consumers a chance for a possibly better price and experience for accommodations when traveling. That takes the money away from Hotel conglomerates and massive union control and puts it back into the hands of the working people. Isn't that what the Left claims to be all for?

      I find it

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      The failure to understand why people don't want a different stranger living next to them every week is a sure sign that our society is breaking down.

      There is no "failure to understand", there is only "failure to care" that people don't want strangers living next to them (both by the company and by the people who rent our their rooms).

      Otherwise agreed.

  • by jasenj1 ( 575309 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2017 @09:42AM (#53825199)

    The fines were $1000 per incident. Let's assume each unit rents for $1000/wk. And since there are multiple units in these buildings, a single ad could cover several units. I'll make a giant assumption of 10 units per building, and an occupancy rate of 50%.
    (10x52x1000)/2 = $260,000. A $17,000 fine may cut into profits a bit, but it is hardly punitive. At $5,000 a pop, that starts to be enough to discourage the behavior. But even then the venture appears, if not wildly profitable, still better than having the units sit empty.

    • ... A $17,000 fine may cut into profits a bit, but it is hardly punitive. At $5,000 a pop, that starts to be enough to discourage the behavior. But even then the venture appears, if not wildly profitable, still better than having the units sit empty.

      Good observation on the nuisance-level penalty.

      But I disagree that it is better than having units sit empty. In either case, the unit is off of the market for long-term rentals (>1 year). The function of short-term accommodations is fulfilled by the hotel/motel industry –which can only be built where zoned to allow for it.

      • by jasenj1 ( 575309 )

        "Better" for the owner, not necessarily better for society at large.

        Some people see breaking the law as inherently bad and avoid doing it on principle. Some see the penalties involved as a tax, on the off-chance you get caught.

        Do you always drive the speed limit? 5 over? 10 over? 20 over? At some threshold - assuming there are police around to catch you - driving over the speed limit becomes more expensive than it is worth, below that threshold, most people speed. Same applies to business. Many business own

  • Last I heard NYC could decide what is and isn't legal with regards to zoning and rentals. Why do we let companies do things that aren't legal without changing the law first? It's nuts. I don't get to break the law and call it 'sharing'.
  • Not a measly $1000 per instance fine. Just make Airbnb rentals subject to NYC's rent control laws. Rent out a unit off season for a low rate and you can't raise it or kick the occupants out.

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